~reflections~musings~inspirations~insights~and life lessons learned by one who is
whole-heartedly, steadfastly, firmly in HIS grip~

Romans 1:6 "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Plank Pluckers VS Sawdust Pickers

This is a repost from September 2008...Thanks, Stewart, for sharing your scripture on Facebook!]

The Sawdust Pickers are ahead 7 to 3 in the game of life. They screeched past the Plank Pluckers with a dab of gossip about someone who was supposed to be a friend, and then scored the extra points when the story was embellished just a bit and believed by someone on the outside looking in.

As one of our beloved Plank Pluckers made a bold counter play and counseled the most aggressive and leading scorer of the Sawdust Pickers the score tied 7 to 7 and the crowd was on its feet with lifted hands shouting hallelujah, Glory to God, and in general screaming rowdy thanks heavenward.

Then out of nowhere the defensive players, Anger, Envy, and Strife showed up and the game intensified. Prayer, Fasting, and Bible Study ran out on the field for the Plank Pluckers and went head to head in a grueling battle. As mud flew the Sawdust Pickers knocked the Plank Pluckers to their knees once again. Steady was the onslaught as Vicious Rumors, Deceit, and Lies joined the Sawdust Pickers and everyone was sure they had the game in the bag.

When victory seemed nowhere in sight for the Plank Pluckers their star quarter back, Holy Spirit, showed up and began calling the plays…First up, a play of mercy and grace, followed by two of the biggest, most impressive plays ever made in the game of life; forgiveness and loving kindness! It was a matter of no time at all till every member of the Sawdust Pickers came tumbling down and the Plank Pluckers celebrated triumphantly as the whistle blew and the skirmish came to an end.

Matthew 7: 1-5 “1) Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2) For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3) Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4) How can you say to your brother ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5) You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Luke 6:41, 42 41) “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42) How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Why is it so easy for us to see other’s faults, inadequacies, and apathy above our own? It seems that we are quick to judge and condemn others for the slightest weakness and then expect others to over look ours. We are comfortable judging others on their actions while expecting them to judge us on our intentions. The worst part of it is that we tend to do this to our friends, our families, and those in our church.

Don’t get me wrong…I am all about exercising judgment and discernment. But when it is malicious in intent…when that judgment and condemnation are verbalized so that it makes the one pointing out the errors of someone else seem to look better, all high and mighty, all holier than thou, well…it’s wrong, I tell you, it is just plain wrong! And it makes me madder than a wet hen!

When we as “mature” Christians see this happening what do we do? Do we sit idly by and watch, thinking it is not our place to intervene, thinking that if we ignore it…it will all work out or simply just go away. Heaven forbid! Titus tells us to teach the younger. Most of the New Testament tells us how to mentor, teach, and grow believers in one form or another.

But nowhere over the past 19 years have I read anywhere in the Bible that someone who calls themselves “mature in the Word” is supposed to bash the faith of a believer who is barely off milk let alone into the meat. No where have I read that we are to go to our “friend” and voice our opinions on how someone else is living their life, especially when we know our friend is going to tell their friend, who will tell another friend. And if we as true mature Christians sit by and let this happen…with out action…woe to us!

It is one thing to tell your prayer partner of a specific need in someone’s life, to join together and take it to the Lord. I am a firm believer in that, for sure, that’s the power play. But why, oh why, do believers fall to temptation and start gossiping, when in reality our sister or brother needs a true helping hand?

The root of gossip is usually that someone has had their feelings hurt in one way or another and then the focus goes from God to self. When we are not focused on God how can we get the work done that He has called us to do? And everyone from the least to the greatest has a job to do! It is as plain and simple as that!

Before we begin to judge, condemn, and point fingers at others…we need to take a long hard look in the mirror at our own hearts; judge that, condemn that, tell others that!

James 1:26 “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”

James 3: 5, 6 “5) Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6) The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fires, and is itself set on fire by hell.

James 3: 8-10 “8) but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9) With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10) Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.

1st Peter 3:10 “For, whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.”

1st John 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love one another with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.”

All scripture is from the New International Version
· For further reading: Matthew 7:1-2; Luke 6:37; Luke 19:22; John 8:15; John 12:47; Romans 2:1; Romans 2:16; Romans 14:10; Hebrews 12:23; Hebrews 13:4; James 4:12

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Promise by The Martins


Timothy's Burden.



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mid-week Meanderings

I sit here snuggled under my electric blanket with a cup of coffee at my right, Bible to my left, and laptop propped upon my knees. I think Jimmy has given me his head cold. I didn't know this is what it meant to be one in marriage. Do we really have to share everything? Really?

This morning I am truly thankful for the power of God at work in the life of Ryan Hobson. God sure worked a miracle there, didn't He? Ryan goes back to the doctor tomorrow morning. Hopefully he will be done with chemo...and run headlong into a healthy, normal life armed with a testimony that will change the lives of all who come into contact with him.

I am thankful for a family who woke me up with telephone calls at midnight and at 5:45 a.m. I am thankful for my children and their families...for the grandson's that will invade my peace and quiet as the school bus rolls to a stop in front of the house this afternoon at four and the grandchild that will be born in August. Thankful for the warm fire in the living room and the husband who, in the wee hours of the morning, made sure it was blazing so I would be warm when I woke up. Thankful for the mother-in-law who conveniently has "leftovers" on the days I spend at the market. And as I look across the frost covered pasture to the pond shrouded in fog, I am thankful for the promise of spring that is on the horizon.

However, my heart is heavy this cold, winter morning as the thought of not seeing my youngest son for eighteen months slams into my heart like a sledge hammer. Sadness creeps in as I think of holidays without him, of him celebrating his birthday in a foreign and hostile land...of him missing the birth of his own child... of the reality that he may come home in a flag-draped coffin.

We ALL knew what he signed up for...but that mere knowledge does not stem the mixture of sadness and anxiety that wash over us in waves of translucent fear. I can honestly tell you it is a moment-by-moment struggle while the Spirit of the Lord beats down worldly emotions and a play-by-play, Walking by Faith and Not by Sight commentary trickles through my mind.

My heart wonders from my own circumstance to the funeral that will take place later today and the family shattered by the senseless death of a seventeen year old by his own hand. Of grief stricken parents groping with such harsh reality...grieving like there is no hope because they know not from whom all life flows...

Of the family members whose deep love for the Lord and close personal relationship with Him offers the only consolation in such a horrific situation... of the hope, of the prayer that as the Holy Spirit comforts those who know Him it will also engulf those who do not... pressing upon them hope eternal... that from one heartbreaking death life everlasting springs forth for those who have been left behind... and though now they do not know Him as personal Savior... one day, one day... He will greet them with open arms and the words, "Well done my good and faithful servant."

Jeremiah 29:11-13 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."~NIV

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ryan Hobson Update

From Elise Wedgeworth Hobson via facebook

Ryan looks so beautiful with all the tubes gone from his face! No oxygen, no feeding tube, and of course no ventilator tube. He only has one IV tube giving him his antibiotics. It's so good to see him talking and laughing. He is still very weak, but still moving in the right direction. Please keep prayin'!!

Being Carol's Sister

It’s amazing how memories are wrapped around our senses. Fresh baked cookies can transport even the oldest of people back to younger days. A song can evoke emotions experienced during a particular time; love, anger, sadness, victory…defeat.

I close my eyes and think of her…I can smell the faint fragrance of Aqua Net hairspray as sleeveless shift-dresses in multi-prints of florescent colors dance across my mind’s eye accompanied by white go-go boots. The Temptations and The Supremes ring in my ears.

She was nine when I was born and immediately I adored her. Try as I might I cannot remember her any younger than as a teenager. She was perfectly coiffed with manicured nails and just the right amount of make-up. I was proud to be Carol’s little sister.

Her mother and my father were divorced. My parent’s “start-over” house had three bedrooms; one for them, one for the girls, and one for the boys. On the weekends when she and my brother, Dave, came to stay our small house must have been bursting at the seams with this blended family of his, hers, and theirs. To quote my sister, Deb, “The Brady Bunch we were not.”

Sometimes our older cousin, Diane, would come over and the hair-fixing would commence as stacks of 45’s rotated on the little suit-case style record player. Make-up was applied, hair was teased, and a variety of outfits with matching shoes was passed around and tried 0n. When the big girls were satisfied they looked their best, the attention was turned to my little sister, Barbie and me. From oldest to youngest our small group of sisters and one cousin looked mod and groovy, man. Then and only then would the record player be turned up as loud as it could go and we would all dance like we were on American Bandstand.

That tiny bedroom seemed huge in my small child eyes. Along one wall was a set of bunk beds shared by Barbie and Deb. Along another was the twin sized bed I slept in when Carol was not there and the tall highboy dresser we all shared. It was a magical place filled with laughter and love.

I’ll never forget her showing up unannounced [to me anyway] and she was driving…by herself! Something was going on, I knew it, because Mother had shuttled us all quickly to our bedrooms. We snuck out when she wasn’t looking and hid in the little alcove by the heater at Butch and Dave’s bedroom door. As I peaked around the corner I could barely see her…platinum blond with her bouffant hairdo ending in a perfect flip at the top of her shoulders. She was crying. I remember her saying, “But Daddy, I love him. I really love him.” I was eight or nine when she married Frank and I realized for the first time she was an adult.

Though our family visited often, we drifted apart…me into teenagedom and she into motherhood. It wasn’t until I was seventeen that we resumed the closeness I once felt as a young child. She was kind of mad when she found out the reason I moved to Texas was because I was pregnant. After I moved back home our first heart-to-heart conversation began with the question, “Why didn’t you call me?” And it ended with the assurance that she would always there for me…no matter what.

I spent many weekends in Sheridan babysitting while she worked in her beauty shop. She treated me like an adult all the while teaching me to take care of my baby and turning me into a strong woman who could stand on my own two feet. True to her word, she was always there…through two husbands, and one divorce… She cheered on my successes and hounded and nagged me to get out of my abusive marriage. She even offered to rent a place for me and dared my husband at the time to step foot on her turf. She was the kind of sister who told you like it was not what you wanted to hear. One always knew where they stood with Carol.

She was twenty-eight or nine when her battle with breast cancer began. I always knew she would get well…knew it…without a doubt. I needed her too much for her to lose. Most of the time I would take the night shift. Frank had his camper trailer parked in the back lot at Saint Vincent’s and he was glad someone was with her. I would start out in the chair but as the evening wore on Carol would scoot over and I would climb up in bed with her just like I had done as a child.

For two years the battle raged on, sometimes in remission only to be attacked again when our guard was let down. I prayed constantly that she would win this war…that she would get well…that life would go back to normal. She told me she wasn’t going to make it and I refused to admit it to myself. She had to get well…what would I do without her? She knew I was not going to take her death well and warned Mother to be sure and pay attention.

One hot summer in mid-July she was admitted to the hospital for the last time. I think she knew her time was up. She had made her peace with God and was drifting in and out of consciousness as her mother and my mother looked out the window and tried to silently comfort each other. She would pat the bed for me to sit down beside her, then pull me down and hug me so tightly I could scarcely breathe. I would sit back up for a moment only to have her reach up and pull me back down to her embrace. This process was repeated all day…she could barely speak but she wanted me to know she loved me and it was not her choice that she wouldn’t always be there.

That night was the first time I ever prayed that if she wasn’t going to get well that God would just take her home… she was in so much pain… and He did. The next couple of weeks were a blur. I have never felt grief so powerful, so strong…my heart was ripped in two. If only I had continued to pray for her to get well that night. As the days wore on I knew what I had to do… I had to make some changes in my life, if only to please her… to honor her… to finally do what she had been telling me for years to do.

Yesterday she would have turned 58 and for the first time since her funeral both sets of her siblings and her children got together for a luncheon in tribute to her influence on us. We shared stories and laughed, teared-up, and laughed some more. I think she would have liked it.

If I could tell her one thing it would be that her death opened my eyes and all that advice she had given me…I took. If she could only see me now!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ryan Hobson Update

From Elise Wedgeworth Hobson:

Ryan is about to get moved to a regular room back on the 7th floor!! He still has quite a ways to go, but he's moving in the right direction. He's very tired and has trouble sleeping, so he really doesn't need to have visitors just yet. Please continue to pray that his recovery is speedy and complete.[3 via Face Book hours ago]

Jimmy Needham

I am free indeed!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ryan Hobson Update ~THIS JUST IN!

From Elise Wedgeworth Hobson

Ryan is off the ventilator!!! He is doing great with just the oxygen tube under his nose. He's not doped up on the pain meds anymore...It's good to have him back to his old self again. Praise God![facebook status 5 hours ago]

I am dancing and shouting and praising the Lord. He is mighty, He is powerful, He is still on the throne, He is alive and well and working among His people! He has shown His powerful hand of healing and help. He is wonderful, marvelous, glorious! HALLELUJAH!!!!!

Ryan Hobson Update

From Elise Wedgeworth Hobson:

Ryan had a pretty good night. Now that the pain meds are leaving his system he is more himself, which is pretty calm. We are hoping today will be the day the vent comes off. That tube in his throat just gets in the way when he coughs or tries to talk. His fever came down nicely last night. It has just started to come ...up again so he got another dose of Tylenol. Thanks for all the prayers!

God is sooooooo gooooooood!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Psalm 100 and Thanksgiving

Psalm 100 is among the first verses that Jake learned and could recite in its entirety. I can remember like it was yesterday the Thanksgiving our entire family sat around the folding tables at the local fire station. Jake was maybe seven or eight. It was the first time the family had all been together since our oldest sister, Carol, had passed away.

As the planning for the meal progressed Jake came to me and asked if he could say Psalm 100. It would be a wonderful addition to our celebration of thanks and told him as much. As I penciled him in on the agenda you could see happiness spread across his face like a rising sun.

However, as Thanksgiving Day approached he began to get nervous. What if he messed up? What if he couldn’t remember it all? I assured him that God would not inspire him to share the scripture with the family and then not allow him to remember. It would be fine. That only placated him for a little while. I told him that he could take his Bible and read it if that would make him more comfortable. He agreed. Still he waffled all week. We prayed together and I would assure him he would do a good job. Finally, I told him it was his idea and his decision in the end.

As we took our seats around the table the noise so common among families who have not gathered in a long time died down. Each person began to say what we were thankful for; jobs, health, each other, friends. When it was Jake’s turn there was a long pause.

As everyone watched and waited, he slipped his Bible out from under his sweat shirt and stated quite firmly, “I am thankful that I don’t have to read this but that I want to read this.” The entire family sat silently as he read Psalm 100. He finished to rousing applause and amen’s.

It was his choice… for the first time he chose to suppress his fears, trust in the Lord, and share His Word. Being able to witness that time in my little boy’s life will always bring me joy and comfort.

My prayer is that as his deployment rushes in upon us that will always be the case. That Jake suppresses his fear, trusts in the Lord, remembers His Word, and shares it with others. Surround him, Oh God, with your protection, Your mercy, and Your Love. Let him always feel Your presence.

Psalm 100 “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” ~KJV~ (King James is still Jake’s favorite version of the Bible)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ryan Hobson Update

Yesterday Elise had the opportunity to go home and get a bit rest. Praise the Lord for that!

Yesterday from Elise Wedgeworth Hobson:

I came home today and took a nap, got a shower, and waved bye to Todd when he left on his trip. I picked up Kylie from choir and now we are home spending time together. It feels good to do "normal" things away from the hospital. I will go back shortly. They tried to wake Ryan up today by stopping the sedation meds but ...he got agitated and his fever spiked. So he's back on the meds again. Maybe we can try again soon.

This just in...
Elise Wedgeworth Hobson [from her Facbook status]
Ryan had a pretty good night. His WBC came up to 2.1 but his platelets are 9 so they are going to give him 2 units this morning. His fever is 102 so they have ice packs in all the key places trying to cool him off. They are going to try to wake him up again this morning. We'll see if he's ready yet.

They tried to reduce his meds yesterday and wake him up but it didn't work that well.

I can not begin to express the thankfulness that I know the family feels for all the prayers. They are seeing God at work and it is because of your intercession. Please continue in prayer.

God is good and He is still in the healing business!

New Year…New You…New Me! OMG I need to be committed!

My BFF, Lisa, has been a gym rat off and on her entire adult life. Sorry, it’s not really derogatory… it’s a term of endearment. Now that her life is back on track and she has the ability, Lisa has resumed her daily workout schedule. Thanks to Face Book I can follow her progress closely through her status updates.

…is back from the gym...4 miles behind me again today! Whoohoo!

Up and at it this morning, it's gonna be a GREAT DAY!

What inspires me about this routine is that no matter how she feels, sore… not in the mood… lazy… tired… or just has too much to do… she goes to that gym. She told me that on the less than energetic days the hardest part was simply walking out of the house and getting in the car. Once she gets in the gym and gets started the endorphins take over and she has a great workout and feels much better. This reality is the reinforcement for her commitment to be in good physical condition.

Much the same can be said about those of us who have a desire to be spiritually fit. There are days when our schedules are packed too tight and we think we can’t squeeze in ten minutes of alone time, let alone time alone with Him. We hurry and scurry about our daily business in a haze of activity from the time we wake up to the time our heads hit the pillow. By the end of the day we are often too tired to even pick up the Bible and read more than one or two verses and offer up a quick prayer only to start all over again when the alarm rings.

Sometimes the hardest part for us is simply turning off the television or computer and just picking up our Bible and turning the page. We’ve either read it so many times we don’t know where to start or we haven’t read it enough and we are not sure what “story” we want to read. Sometimes we don’t think we have that much to pray about because everything seems to be going along just fine. And why study the Sunday school lesson this week anyway? The teacher always does such a good job of getting the message across.

The beauty is… if we just get started… take that first step… the Holy Spirit takes over and we have a great workout and we feel much better. Just like my girlfriends workout, this should be the motivating factor that keeps us committed to doing those things which leads us to spiritual fitness.

Those of you, who know me, know I am trying to get over chronic planning syndrome. Once I retired I thought it would be easy…no calendar, no Palm Pilot, no meetings, and no business trips. However, I still have a running “to do” list and now I make menus, have a cleaning schedule, a yard work schedule, a home improvement schedule and the list goes on... It’s a sickness, really.

The good thing about being a planner is that I always have my devotion time at the top of the day’s agenda and no matter how my list gets rearranged that time takes priority. Is making a schedule or re-prioritizing the one you already have what you need to do to get back on track? It could be as simple as a post it on the fridge or near the coffee pot to get you started. Take the time right now to make a commitment to be committed to your time alone with God. It will make all the difference in the world.

Isaiah 40-28-31 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on the wings of eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” ~NIV

My childhood friend, Brian, has one of those little fortune cookie slips on his refrigerator. It’s been there for years it says, “Commitment is what turns a promise into a reality.” Are you ready to turn God’s promises into your reality?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ryan Hobson Update

FROM: Elise Wedgeworth Hobson
I am so encouraged with Ryan's progress. Even though we're talking baby steps, they are steps in the right direction. We have been blessed with Christian nurses who take an interest rather than just show up for a paycheck. The doctors look you in the eye and give you honest answers. I know in my heart that Ryan will some day have a tremendous testimony. And we have so many of you to thank for praying us through.

Oh, forgot...they are about to give him 2 units of blood. Please pray that doesn't make his fever go back up.

[3 hours ago via Facebook]

Monday, February 1, 2010

Update on Ryan

From Elise Wedgeworth Hobson:

We had a good night. Since Ryan is on the vent he is able to rest easy instead of working so hard to breathe. It's hard to see the tube in his mouth, but I know he is getting the oxygen his body needs. His blood pressure is back to normal {praise} but his temp is trying to creep up. His white count is on a gradual rise {big praise}. Hopefully things will keep looking up. Thanks for all the prayers![8:47 a.m.]

PRAISE THE LORD! GOD IS SOOOOO GOOOOOD! Thank you for your continued prayers.